A. God often reveals Himself to us in surprising ways. Sometimes He speakes with a soft, quiet voice, trying to lead us to the right path. At other times, with an insistent voice through our conscience, He tries to convict us of sin.
B. Sometimes God's voice is loud.
1. It interrupts our routine. It makes us stop in our tracks. It shocks us, especially when life seems to be disintegrating, and everything seems to be upside down.
2. We may even be in danger of losing the things for which we have struggled. And when we least expect it, God surprises us. He enters our life in an amazing way.
C. That happened to Nebuchadnezzar, and it may happen to us as well.
I. NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S TESTIMONY
A. Read Daniel 4:1-3. Nebuchadnezzar found the source of inner peace.
He found the One who provides stability and inner tranquility (Isa. 26:3). He seemed to be bubbling over with gratitude to God. The life of the pagan king was changed.
1. Nebuchadnezzar was changed by God's grace. He needed to tell his story. He wanted to share the greatness of the God who changed his life.
2. If God changed Nebuchadnezzar, He can change us too, no matter how many mistakes we have made. If your life is full of misfortune, God can change you.
II. TRAGEDY PREDICTED
A. Nebuchadnezzar described how happy and calm his life was before he learned about God (read Daniel 4:4).
1. It is very easy to become proud when things go well in our lives. Occasionally, God permits setbacks and adversities to come upon us in order to lead us to Him.
2. Nebuchadnezzar had a new dream that predicted that an adversity would befall him. Full of pride, at the height of his power, Nebuchadnezzar was chopped down. We can learn a lesson from his experience.
B. God is in control of everything, and we need to admit that we depend on Him.
1. In his dream about the tree, Nebuchadnezzar saw the collapse of his own kingdom. The chopping down of the tree represented Nebuchadnezzar's fall from God's favor, and the loss of his kingdom.
C. For seven years ("seven times"), the king would experience an insanity that would make him reason and act like a beast. It is difficult to imagine the brilliant and popular king of Babylon wandering the fields like a wild beast. Afflicted with temporary insanity, he let his nails and his hair grow, and he did not bathe. He felt better among the beasts than in the royal court.
1. What a contrast with his previous life in the palace! The king got to the "bottom of the pit." His life became a total disaster, an absolute wreck. There was no place to look except up. There was no one to turn . . . except God.
III. GOD'S APPEAL TO REPENTANCE
A. What advice did God give the king? (Read Daniel 4:27.)
1. The judgments of God may be avoided if we repent. It is something very dangerous to continue, by "our own" will, to disobey God. The lack of God's blessing allows tragedies to come into our lives.
B. Full of pride, at the height of power, Nebuchadnezzar was chopped down.
1. What a lesson to us! Neglecting to recognize God in our lives may result in our becoming unprotected victims of tragedies.
2. Only when Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, recognized the true God did his sanity return. The king looked up to heaven and recognized the God of the Universe. And his life was suddenly changed.
A. In a sense, the story of Nebuchadnezzar is my story and your story! We too, need the grace of God. We may also become confused and not know where to turn.
B. Victory will come only to the one whose repentant heart is willing to recognize that all that he possesses and all that he may obtain in this life come from God. Victory will only come to you if you admit that God is in control of everything.
C. God extends to us an invitation in Isaiah 45:22: "Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other."
1. God invites us to come to Him. In Him we will find the safety that we long for.
2. Life is so fragile. Our work, our homes, our marriages, and our health offer very little safety. We may lose everything in a moment, at a blink of an eye. In God and in Him alone may we find strength, meaning, and purpose for our lives.
3. Today, wouldn't you like to run to Jesus' arms? Wouldn't you like to feel His loving embrace and hear His quieting voice, saying, "You are Mine. I will never forsake you"?
Contributed by the South American Division Ministerial Association